Monday, June 04, 2007

A New Alliance Between Publishers

Wow! It's not even 11:00 AM yet, and I've already had three people email me the link to the Dear Author site.

The Ja(y)nes are reporting that Kensington and Samhain are announcing a joint venture.

Kensington, which bills itself as "the last remaining independent U.S. publisher of hardcover, trade and mass market paperback books," will provide printing, marketing and distribution to books acquired and edited by Samhain.

Samhain (pronounced sah-vin or sam-hine, depending on whether you're Scots or English) is an e-publishing house started in November, 2005 by Chrissy Brashear. Chrissy had formerly been the Chief Operating Officer for Ellora's Cave, another e-publisher. Chrissy's new imprint has grown enormously in just eighteen months.

According to the Dear Author website, "[t]he Samhain books will have traditional print runs and will be marketed to buyers just like the other imprints of Kensington."

On May 21 here, I blogged about the difficulties some e-publishers had experienced in making the jump from e-publishing to print publishing. This joint venture with Kensington--a house with over thirty years experience in traditional publishing--strikes me as an excellent move for Samhain.

It's been sixteen months since Kensington announced its new Aphrodisia imprint. At that time, I reported here that "[e]ach Aphrodisia title will be released as both a trade paperback and e-book."

I recently went over to the Aphrodisia site and was surprised to see that their latest releases were NOT being offered as e-books. I suspect Kensington didn't do as well marketing their e-book releases as they anticipated.

If the plan is for Samhain to act as Kensington's DAD, I can understand the attraction of the joint venture to Kensington.

I first wrote about DADs in my post of May 13th here. The acronym was used by Mike Shatzkin in a speech at the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) conference in New York. Mike said the following:

Understanding the service of DADs [digital asset distributors] will be essential not only for expoiting new economic models like ebooks or page pay-per-view, but also for facilitating online marketing of physical books. It is obvious to publishers that their markets are moving into large online communities like MySpace and Second Life, beyond the reach of traditional print, broadcast marketing and in-store appearances.

If Samhain acts as Kensington's DAD, I'm thinking that this arrangement offers the best of both worlds to both publishing houses. Each would be able to concentrate on the part of the business that they know best, as well as provide distribution for the other. Both will be strengthened by the alliance.

Go here to read the Dear Author posting.

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